aside from her in-your-face personality, what i loved most about dolly from hello, dolly! was her eye-catching style. she wasn’t afraid to rock a feather-topped hat, strong-shouldered jacket and every color in the rainbow. only barbra streisand could put as much spunk in her character’s outfits as her conversational [and singing] skills.
if dolly was a matchmaker in modern day westchester (yonkers, to be specific), i’m sure that her wardrobe would be just as flashy. and just as expensive. i can easily imagine her in a floor-length alexander mcqueen and silk button-up balmain boots. add a feather boa for the perfect “oh, this old thing? i just grabbed it on my way to the grocery store” dolly levi look.
you wouldn’t believe how hard it is to do right by barbra and her character in funny girl, real-life comedienne and follies girl fanny brice. so much so that i missed my usual sunday blogging deadline, publishing this post today, on a tuesday. many apologies.
no other movie holds a candle to this one, and not just because i identify so greatly with brice and her personality issues (selfishness, multiple eccentricities, the ability to overwhelm everyone in a room). did you pay attention to the costumes? a book could be written. a book about the importance of glamor, and barbra couldn’t have infused it more into every scene. the ostentatious hats, the ever-present pearls, every outfit tailored to a “t.”
the outerwear was the star of the show, opening with the infamous leopard coat and matching hat. only phillip lim did it better. but would could forget her final scene, belting “my man” in that long-sleeved black gown? donna karan’s version is almost identical.
meet the fockers is a must-see. while the plot wasn’t particularly compelling, it did involve america’s greatest treasure: barbra streisand.
babs played roz focker, the kooky aunt that we all want to have, if we don’t already (i do — love you, aunt enid!). she is the one who tells inappropriate jokes during passover seder, gives you “the birds and the bees” talk, the perpetual life of the party.
all of roz’s outfits exuded luxurious, bohemian comfort. thus, focker fashion would definitely involve an anna sui caftan and linen harem pants. going to the grocery store? she’d slide on a pair of christian louboutin espadrilles and a jimmy choo raffia tote.
my guess is that the character of roz isn’t too far off from barbra’s real personality. her nuance and expressions were too spot-on. can’t you imagine babs passing out the pot brownies after sunday family dinner? she has that twinkle in her eye.
in the way we were, katie morosky had extremely strong beliefs about a few things. these included dashing men (robert redford was a fox in this movie, ya’ll), loving communism, dressing like a bad-ass mamma jamma. the movie follows katie and her love for robbie’s character, hubbell, despite their differences.
unfortunately, not everyone appreciates a good sense of style, or marxism during the mccarthy era. and ladies, if you meet a man that has the same name as a telescope, run.
but aside from her convictions, girlfriend knew how to rock a blouse. scene after scene, she sported typical housewife looks that had an undertone of “don’t fuck with me.” combine a frazzled head of curls with a bow-tie button-down and add a hat to, well, every outfit. but the must-haves include a killer camel coat (smythe’s is on-point with the film’s final scene) and frosted tomato-colored lipstick. i would suggest “cherry frost” by wet n’ wild.
papa, can you hear me? in this outfit, he would. when babs played yentl in 1983, she was probably unaware of what a trend-setter she would become.
to summarize, yentl (born a lady) yearned to study the talmud, a religious text read only by the opposite sex in early 20th century jewish culture. in order to bend the rules, she escaped her small village to a neighboring one, dressed in menswear, and essentially became a member of the male society.
androgynous looks have proved their importance in fashion for years. designers like ralph lauren, michael kors and calvin klein have all been inspired by woman both on and off-screen who exemplify such looks: katherine hepburn, annie hall.
mcq, rag & bone, jil sander, rachel comey, eugenia kim and boy by band of outsiders created the perfect outfit. one that is tailored and masculine, yet hugs curves. because a woman who is pretending to be a man who has womanly feelings should still stay in touch with his/her feminine side, don’t you think?
“i go by instinct - i don’t worry about experience.”
have you ever seen a barbra streisand movie? that woman can pull of anything. a burlesque outfit trimmed with grapes, a babydoll with handprints over the breasts, even a newsboy cap. and that is exactly why i created this blog, which plans to enter the closets of various characters that the talented singer/actress/spirit animal has played over the years, from fanny brice to rozalin focker to the real-life babs in all her glory.
my only hope is that i can do justice to such a talented woman - one who isn’t afraid to push the envelope with her fashion choices, both on and off-screen.
because don’t you want to know: what would barbra streisand wear?